Special Issue "Microbe-Assisted Production of Horticultural Crops"

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524). This special issue belongs to the section "Biotic and Abiotic Stress".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Giovanni Bubici
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: soil-borne plant pathogens; beneficial microorganisms; soil microbiome; Verticillium; Pyrenochaeta; Fusarium; Streptomyces; biological control; integrated disease management; plant genetic resistance; plant-microbe interaction; microbe genomics; plant functional genomics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Maria Isabella Prigigallo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Turin, Italy
Interests: beneficial microorganisms; soil microbiome; Phytophthora spp.; Fusarium; biological control; plant–microbe interaction; metagenomics; plant functional genomics; molecular plant pathology; plant genetic resistance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants are exposed to a plethora of biotic and abiotic stresses. Moreover, due to the increase of the global human population and the consequent augmented food demand, there is a pressing need for novel agricultural techniques that can support an environment-friendly and cost-effective way to manage crop stresses. Agriculture intensification requires more inputs of synthetic fungicides and fertilizers, thus compromising sustainability and eco-compatibility. The use of beneficial microorganisms or the manipulation of the indigenous microbiota are good options for minimizing the negative effects of agriculture intensification. Through their direct and indirect interactions with the plants, beneficial microorganisms control pests, pathogens, and weeds, increase yields, and improve the quality of plant products. Furthermore, the microbiota has been known to contribute to the expression of plant genotype into the phenotype, hence traditional breeding has moved towards the so-called “microbial-assisted breeding”.

This Special Issue will address basic and applied aspects of the use of beneficial microorganisms to make crop production more sustainable. We invite researchers to submit papers (review articles and research results) that highlight the application of beneficial microbes on enhancing sustainable agricultural production, with the objectives to unveil different aspects of crop management, including their interactions with the horticultural crops and other organisms and the dynamics of their assemblies under diverse natural and anthropological pressures. Primary and applied research opening novel applications of microorganisms are appreciated. Reviews pointing to the summary of past works around this theme and bringing to light new scientific evidence will also be welcome.

Dr. Giovanni Bubici
Dr. Maria Isabella Prigigallo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Horticulturae is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • horticultural crops
  • biological control agents
  • integrated crop disease management
  • plant growth promotion
  • holobiont
  • microbiota

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Synergistic Effect between Trichoderma virens and Bacillus velezensis on the Control of Tomato Bacterial Wilt Disease
Horticulturae 2021, 7(11), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7110439 - 01 Nov 2021
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Abstract
(1) Background: Ralstonia solanacearum causes tomato bacterial wilt disease, one of the most serious tomato diseases. As the combination of Trichoderma virens (Tvien6) and Bacillus velezensis (X5) was more effective at controlling tomato bacterial wilt disease than a single agent, we investigated [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Ralstonia solanacearum causes tomato bacterial wilt disease, one of the most serious tomato diseases. As the combination of Trichoderma virens (Tvien6) and Bacillus velezensis (X5) was more effective at controlling tomato bacterial wilt disease than a single agent, we investigated the synergistic effect of Tvien6 and X5 in controlling this disease; (2) Methods: The disease incidence, plant heights and weights, relative chlorophyll content (SPAD values), defensive enzymes (PPO, POD, and SOD) activities, and metabolome were estimated among four treatment groups (BR treatment, X5 + R. solanacearum (RS-15); TR treatment, Tvien6+ RS-15; TBR treatment, Tvien6 + X5 + RS-15; and R treatment, RS-15); (3) Results: The R treatment group had the highest disease incidence and lowest plant heights, plant weights, SPAD values, defensive enzyme activities, and D-fructose and D-glucose contents; the TBR treatment group had the lowest disease incidence and highest plant heights, plant weights, SPAD values, defensive enzyme activities, and D-fructose and D-glucose contents; (4) Conclusions: The results revealed that Tvien6 and X5 can both individually promote tomato plant growth, increase leaf chlorophyll content, enhance defensive enzyme activities, and induce the accumulation of D-fructose and D-glucose; however, they were more effective when combined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbe-Assisted Production of Horticultural Crops)
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Article
Impact of Trichoderma asperellum on Chilling and Drought Stress in Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)
Horticulturae 2021, 7(10), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7100385 - 09 Oct 2021
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Abstract
The acceleration of climate change is necessitating the adoption of shifts in farming practices and technology to ensure the sustainability of agricultural production and food security. Because abiotic stresses such as drought and chilling represent major constraints on agricultural productivity worldwide, in this [...] Read more.
The acceleration of climate change is necessitating the adoption of shifts in farming practices and technology to ensure the sustainability of agricultural production and food security. Because abiotic stresses such as drought and chilling represent major constraints on agricultural productivity worldwide, in this study, the mitigation of such stresses by the fungus Trichoderma asperellum HK703 was evaluated. The fungus was grown on whole grain oats, kaolin and vermiculite for 5 days and then the formulation was mixed with the potting soil to colonize the roots of the plants. The effect of the bioinoculant on tomato under drought or chilling was analyzed in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants. Leaf, stem and root succulence, electrolyte leakage, the relative growth rate of plant height, stem thickness and leaf area, as well new leaf emergence and chlorophyll content were determined. The results showed that drought or chilling increased electrolyte leakage and reduced plant growth and development traits and chlorophyll (a,b) content. However, inoculation with T. asperellum eliminated or reduced most of the negative impacts of drought compared to the non-stressed plants, with the exception of chlorophyll b content. Furthermore, inoculation with T. asperellum improved some of the evaluated features in chilling stressed plants but had no effect on plant height or chlorophyll (a,b) content. The results of this study indicate that T. asperellum was more effective in alleviating drought than chilling stress in tomato plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbe-Assisted Production of Horticultural Crops)
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Article
Improvement of Nutraceutical Value of Parsley Leaves (Petroselinum crispum) upon Field Applications of Beneficial Microorganisms
Horticulturae 2021, 7(9), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7090281 - 03 Sep 2021
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Abstract
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is an important aromatic herb that has gained importance in food and cosmetic industry, and it is used as medicinal plant due to the presence of compounds with biological activity. Several studies have demonstrated antioxidant, antimicrobial or cancer [...] Read more.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is an important aromatic herb that has gained importance in food and cosmetic industry, and it is used as medicinal plant due to the presence of compounds with biological activity. Several studies have demonstrated antioxidant, antimicrobial or cancer chemopreventive activity of different parts of parsley plants. We showed that the nutritional value of parsley leaves can be improved by treatments with beneficial microorganisms on the field crop. Streptomyces fulvissimus strain AtB-42 and Trichoderma harzianum strain T22 were applied, as singly or in combination (microbial consortium), at transplanting and two weeks later. After harvesting, plants were subjected to metabolomic analysis by LC and GC-MS. Spectrometric analysis resulted in the identification of seven polar metabolites. Results showed a significant difference in relative abundance of these metabolites among treatments. The AtB-42 application, alone or in combination with T22, induced the accumulation of petroselinic acid, while T22, alone or in combination, induced the accumulation of xanthotoxol/bergaptol and its derivative xanthotoxin/bergapten. The microbial consortium increased the accumulation of capsanthone compared to single treatments. No statistically relevant differences were found for the volatile fraction. It can be concluded that S. fulvissimus and T. harzianum significantly induced metabolic profile change of parsley and the accumulation of metabolites with nutraceutical value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbe-Assisted Production of Horticultural Crops)
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Article
Early Physiological Response of Potato Plants to Entomopathogenic Fungi under Hydroponic Conditions
Horticulturae 2021, 7(8), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7080217 - 30 Jul 2021
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Abstract
Endophytic entomopathogenic fungi are promising agents for the promotion of plant growth, the activation of immunity, and protection against phytopathogens. However, physiological changes in plants after treatment with fungi are insufficiently studied. We investigated the effect of potato inoculation with conidia from Metarhizium [...] Read more.
Endophytic entomopathogenic fungi are promising agents for the promotion of plant growth, the activation of immunity, and protection against phytopathogens. However, physiological changes in plants after treatment with fungi are insufficiently studied. We investigated the effect of potato inoculation with conidia from Metarhizium robertsii and Beauveria bassiana on the growth (fresh and dry weight, length of shoots and roots, counts of stolons and leaves, and total surface area of leaves) and physiological parameters (pigment contents, free proline and malondialdehyde content, and activity of antioxidant enzymes) at the initial stage of the plant–fungus interaction (seven days) under hydroponic conditions. The results showed that the fungi could act as an immune-modulating factor for plants based on the increase in malondialdehyde and proline contents. At the same time, we observed growth retardation and a decrease in the content of photosynthetic pigments, which may be caused by a tradeoff between plant growth and the immune response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbe-Assisted Production of Horticultural Crops)
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Article
The Effect of Mycorrhizal Inoculum and Phosphorus Treatment on Growth and Flowering of Ajania (Ajania pacifica (Nakai) Bremer et Humphries) Plant
Horticulturae 2021, 7(7), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7070178 - 03 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 568
Abstract
The influence of mycorrhizal inoculum in combination with different phosphorus treatments on growth and flowering parameters of Ajania (Ajania pacifica (Nakai) Bremer et Humphries) plants was investigated in two growing seasons (2015 and 2016). Plants of the cultivar ‘Silver and Gold’ were [...] Read more.
The influence of mycorrhizal inoculum in combination with different phosphorus treatments on growth and flowering parameters of Ajania (Ajania pacifica (Nakai) Bremer et Humphries) plants was investigated in two growing seasons (2015 and 2016). Plants of the cultivar ‘Silver and Gold’ were transplanted into pots either with added mycorrhizal inoculum or without inoculum and assigned to four phosphorus treatments. Mycorrhizal colonization was assessed by evaluating the frequency of colonization, intensity of colonization and density of fungal structures (arbuscules, vesicles, coils and microsclerotia) in the roots. During the growing season, the content of plant available phosphorus in the soil was analyzed, and shoot length, number of shoots, number of inflorescences, number of flowers and flowering time were evaluated. Inoculated Ajania plants were successfully colonized with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and dark septate endophytic fungi. In the root segments, hyphae were mainly observed, as well as vesicles, coils, arbuscules and microsclerotia, but in lower density. The density of fungal structures did not differ among phosphorus treatments, but did differ between years, with a higher density of fungal structures in 2016. Mycorrhizal plants developed higher number of shoots in 2016, higher number of inflorescences, higher number of flowers, and they flowered longer compared to uninoculated plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbe-Assisted Production of Horticultural Crops)
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Article
Effect of Bacillus spp. and Brevibacillus sp. on the Photosynthesis and Redox Status of Solanum lycopersicum
Horticulturae 2021, 7(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7020024 - 03 Feb 2021
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Abstract
Plant-growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) are gaining attention as a sustainable alternative to current agrochemicals. This study evaluated the impact of three Bacillus spp. (5PB1, 1PB1, FV46) and one Brevibacillus sp. (C9F) on the important crop tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) using the model cv. [...] Read more.
Plant-growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) are gaining attention as a sustainable alternative to current agrochemicals. This study evaluated the impact of three Bacillus spp. (5PB1, 1PB1, FV46) and one Brevibacillus sp. (C9F) on the important crop tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) using the model cv. ‘MicroTom’. The effects of these isolates were assessed on (a) seedlings’ growth and vigor, and (b) adult potted plants. In potted plants, several photosynthetic parameters (chlorophylls (a and b), carotenoids and anthocyanins contents, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, net CO2 photosynthetic rate, and intercellular CO2 concentration, and on chlorophyll fluorescence yields of light- and dark-adapted leaves)), as well as soluble sugars and starch contents, were quantified. Additionally, the effects on redox status were evaluated. While the growth of seedlings was, overall, not influenced by the strains, some effects were observed on adult plants. The Bacillus safensis FV46 stimulated the content of pigments, compared to C9F. Bacillus zhangzhouensis 5PB1 increased starch levels and was positively correlated with some parameters of the photophosphorylation and the gas exchange phases. Interestingly, Bacillus megaterium 1PB1 decreased superoxide (O2) content, and B. safensis FV46 promoted non-enzymatic antioxidant defenses, increasing total phenol content levels. These results, conducted on a model cultivar, support the theory that these isolates differently act on tomato plant physiology, and that their activity depends on the age of the plant, and may differently influence photosynthesis. It would now be interesting to analyze the influence of these bacteria using commercial cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbe-Assisted Production of Horticultural Crops)
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Brief Report
Biological Control of the Raspberry Eriophyoid Mite Phyllocoptes gracilis Using Entomopathogenic Fungi
Horticulturae 2021, 7(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7030054 - 18 Mar 2021
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Abstract
There is an urgent need to develop biological control methods against the eriophyoid mite, Phyllocoptes gracilis, which causes significant losses in organic raspberry production in Europe. The use of entomopathogenic fungi (EF) is a sustainable alternative to conventional chemical pesticides, reducing the [...] Read more.
There is an urgent need to develop biological control methods against the eriophyoid mite, Phyllocoptes gracilis, which causes significant losses in organic raspberry production in Europe. The use of entomopathogenic fungi (EF) is a sustainable alternative to conventional chemical pesticides, reducing the risks of pesticide resistance and other negative environmental impacts of agriculture. The objective of this study was to assess the pathogenicity of three strains of EF, two of Beauveria bassiana and one of Metarhizium anisopliae, on P. gracilis under laboratory conditions. Fungal spore suspensions (1 × 107 spores per mL) were sprayed on detached leaves infested with P. gracilis. Treated mites were kept under controlled conditions (25 ± 3 °C, 72 ± 10% relative humidity and photoperiod of 16:8 (light/dark)) and mite mortality was assessed three, five and seven days after inoculation. At all three measurement points (days after inoculation), the mortality of P. gracilis was highest for B. bassiana strain BB 1.1 and M. anisopliae strain MA 10.1. Our data demonstrate that EFs are promising candidates for the development of biological control agents against P. gracilis in raspberry crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbe-Assisted Production of Horticultural Crops)
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